Through the 2004 WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, to further address growing concerns about childhood obesity, Congress established a requirement that each local educational agency that participates in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) school meals programs establish a local wellness policy. The California Department of Education provided leadership, training and resources to support the implementation of these locally developed school wellness policies, which were to incorporate:
- Goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness
- Nutrition guidelines for all food available on each school campus during the school day
- Assurance that guidelines for reimbursable meals were met, and not less restrictive than federal regulations and guidance issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Involvement of parents and guardians, students, school food-service professionals, school administrators, school board members, and members of the public in development of the wellness policy
- A plan for measuring implementation of the wellness policy
On December 13, 2010, President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) (PDF) reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Programs. Section 204 added Section 9A to the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (Title 42, U.S. Code 1758b), Local School Wellness Policy Implementation. The provisions enhanced the previous Local School Wellness Policy requirements, strengthening requirements for ongoing implementation, assessment, and public reporting of wellness policies and expanding the team of collaborators participating in the wellness policy development to include more members from the community. The HHFKA now requires that the local school wellness policy, at a minimum, include:
- Goals for nutrition promotion* and education, physical activity, and other school based-activities that promote student wellness.
- Nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages available on school campus during the school day.
- Requirements that Stakeholders be provided opportunities to participate in the development, implementation*, and periodic review and update* of the wellness policy.
- A plan for measuring effectiveness, that is measured periodically and that the assessment is made available to the public.*
- Public notification informing and updating the public (parents, students, and others in the community) periodically about the content and implementation of the local school wellness policy.*
- Local designation must include one or more local education agency officials or school officials to ensure that each school complies* with the local school wellness policies.
*These are new requirements.
In Management Bulletin USDA-SNP-16-2011, Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010: Local School Wellness Policies, the California Department of Education (CDE) recommended that districts become aware of the changes and have initiated review of their Local School Wellness Policies during School Year 2012–13, and to the extent possible, have begun moving forward on implementing the new requirements. For example, districts needed to have been working toward developing a reasonable method to inform and update the public about their implementation of local wellness policies. Some suggestions included disseminating printed or electronic materials to their community and posting information on their district Web site.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Policy Memorandum SP 42-2011 (PDF) provides more detailed information about the requirements and recommended actions for the School Year 2011–12. Districts may also find it helpful to consult the local school wellness policy reference materials and sample policies on the USDA FNS Local School Wellness Policy Web page.
The Local School Wellness Policies (LWP): Comparison Chart of 2004 vs. 2010 Requirements (PDF) is available on the USDA FNS Web site.
For additional resource information, please see the Nutrition Services Local School Wellness Policy Web page.
If you have any questions, please contact Heather Reed, Nutrition Education Consultant, Education and Nutrition Policy Unit at 916-323-3681 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.